Gnome – can it last?

by redshift

Every time a new GNOME release comes out, I’m tempted, and I usually wind up installing the damn thing. I’ve always been disappointed – there are usually enough crash bugs and annoyances that I go right back to a light WM. Not to allow any exceptions, I installed gnome 2.10 yesterday and have been giving it a proper test.

First impression – it’s a much better release than previous ones, i.e. 2.6 and 2.8, which I found to be too buggy to be usable. I’ve only noticed one crash bug so far, and it doesn’t take down gnome, just causes some unresponsiveness and kills an applet (the System Monitor’s “harddisk” applet). Some small annoyances include Nautilus not using mouse buttons 4 and 5 for back/forward like firefox, which should just need some imwheel lovin’, and some inconsistency in audio – for instance, getting Nautilus to do audio previews is currently being a bitch.

It’s more cohesive than a WM, which I suppose is the idea. I’m a fairly knowledgeable FVWM user, meaning I have a tweaked config that does exactly what I want, so gnome’s relative stiffness will take some getting used to – but I like the fact that it’s a designed system rather than a cobbled-together app heap. That’s a hard thing to describe; it’s something like the engineering behind OSX, though I couldn’t ever see myself using that. Things fit a little better together, while not being as… kute as KDE. Whether this will last will probably depend on fixing my few issues and finding out just how customizable this thing is for someone as anal as I am.